This week I have been thinking about the social and ecological impact of the fashion industry.

Two things kicked this little train of thought off. The first was accidentally watching the BBC 3 show Blood, Sweat and T-Shirts. This is a 4 part series that started on the 22nd April, but I caught the second part on the 29th, having been unaware of it. 6 young people were sent to India to experience work in the sweat shops of Delhi.

The second was the dropping through my door of the June edition of Marie Claire , the “Eco” edition.

It appears that eco credentials and having a social conscience are now big business and it made me wonder how people who make so much effort to live the rest of their lives in a socially concious way can suddenly become so blind at the sight of a pretty frock.

It doesn’t take much to realise that a dress that costs £10 in a high street store is probably not made in the most salubrious of places, we all know you can’t buy the fabric for that much in the UK. However there has to be middle line between this and the £1400 vintage lace dress featured in Marie Claire? Surely a social and ecological conscience can’t be the preserve of the super rich or the stereotypical hemp wearing hippy?

Many high street stores are starting to make a nod towards green with reusable shopping bags and ranges made from organic cotton, but the range is still fairly limited. Can you have fashion with a conscience?

The answer? Recycle!

Buying second hand clothing has not only become a means of saving money, but a means of saving the planet! Ebay, second hand and vintage stores and charity shops make sure that landfills aren’t full of used clothes and our wardrobes stay full of lovely things. Always remember that a few new buttons or some slight alterations in length could make an out of date garment into something so now it hurts. But don’t forget that it doesn’t stop with your purchase, once you are tired of your lovely new purchase, make sure you send it off to become someone elses!